New Casting Fool & Son
Convention Cart and Shelf Unit
When we moved into our new home, I tried to take my old convention cart into the house. Only to have it totally collapse as it was only an old display case purchased from a local electronics store when the store changed locations.
The old cart was 24" by 48" by 32" high. When I finally decided to replace it, I wanted something at least 72" long (convention vendor slots have been 6' wide), 24" to 30" deep, and 42" high.
The old cart was wired for power and this cart will be, too. As well as outlets for a laptop, cell phone, lights and the warmer and oven. I have about three months to complete the cart and it's associated shelf unit before the local convention, the Augusta Siege 2008. I do not have pictures of the shelf unit as yet, as it is still in a sort of build it/design phase.
I stumbled onto a great deal at the local Home Depot for 3/4" birch plywood, $25.00 per sheet that rang up at the register for $20.00. Very good, considering that the going price was $49.00 per sheet!
Each picture has a caption. Please excuse all of the toys in the background. Our dachshund likes to play. :O)
All 2" by 2" framing and 3/4" birch plywood construction. This is a back view of the second stage, as I had already completed converting a heavy-duty cart from Harbor Freight by replacing the 24" by 48" cart's bed with a new one 24" by 72". It has pneumatic tires and is rated for 1000 lbs.. At this stage, the cart has it's bottom and sides. The 2 by 2 on top is just sitting there and is not a part of the frame. Everything is glued and screwed together. The top will be 30" wide and the width of the unit is 24", leaving an overhang in the back to allow me to get closer to my work.
This is a front view of the same stage, showing the display area that will be glassed in with a 24" by 68", 3/16" plate glass front. The plate glass will swing down on a piano hinge to allow access to the display shelves.
This shows the steerable front of the cart. I may replace the bolt that holds the handle on with a safety clip so that it can be removed after the cart is in place.
Another view of the front.
In this view, the top has been added. A hole has been cut for the warming tray that will serve as a demonstration base for resin sales as well as a base installed as the support for said tray. Uprights have been added to support the interior shelves, top, and cabinet doors.
Here you can see the hole for the recessed warming tray and the tentative location for the "lazy susan" for my sculpting area. The warming tray can be seen upside down under the tools at the far end of the cart.
Another view of this stage, from the front. (That's our wood stove in the foreground, last year's project.)
This view shows the location for the toaster oven that acts as a mold warmer. The solid panel under the oven is where I will locate all of the accessible electrical things, like a receptacle, switches, etc.. This view also shows the shelf in place under and to the left of the oven. I was embarrassed to find that the shelf would not fit into the cabinet without cutting it. With all of the other things in place, the shelf was 1/2" too long to fit into place in one piece.
A close-up of the recess for the warming tray. The notch to the right is for the tray's temperature control.
I used an Alumilite 1-gallon container to judge the height of the shelf.
Another view of the rear of the cart at this stage. In this view you can see the cart's wheels.
Another close-up of the warming tray recess.
The panel over the oven has been placed in this picture. Later, I will cut a hole that will be covered by a vent to let the warm air out over the oven.
A close up of the marks used to locate the "lazy susan" in place. A hole had to be drilled in order to allow me to put screws into top of the "lazy susan".
All of the 3/4" facing has been attached in this picture.
The modeling work station at the top right of the picture was used as a model for the new station to accompany the "lazy susan". The doors have been attached. The two to the left are simple doors, and the one to the right is intended to hold a trash bag. Pickup truck owners might recognize the bag ring at the top of the door...
Another view of the doors (and a bit of our dachshund, "Gabby".)
A close-up of the trash bag door.
"Lazy susan" in place.
New modeling workstation in progress, waiting for the glue to dry. It will be pinned in place in front of the "lazy susan", and may include a Plexiglas shield about a foot high. The workstation will be removable for transport. By this time, the three sheets of 3/4" birch plywood were almost used up, so I used 1/2" birch plywood that I had on hand to do the workstation.
At this stage, the frame for the glass front of the cart has been built. I cut a 3/16" channel for the glass before cutting the pieces to length. The piano hinge has been trimmed to fit the frame, but has not been installed.
Another view of the glass frame. I will be adding trim around the opening later. I am going to add several sets of shelf supports inside the display area. Probably 24" wide units to allow for different displays. I can fit three 24" units in side by side if I trim the outside two a bit to get them to fit. Each approximately 24" tall by 24" wide. I ended up with a lot more display area than I figured for at the beginning.
I like the idea of having things on display, but not accessible to the small children invariably left to run without parental supervision at gaming conventions, or to the rare convention shoplifter. Coupled with the behind-the-table shelf unit that I'm building, security will be a lot easier.
These two units go approximately 40" apart, leaning against the wall as you see them here in this picture. A 48" wide sign has been temporarily mounted across the top of both (nothing has been engraved on the sign yet), bolts holding the three pieces together. Shelf brackets go on each side unit and shelves span the distance between them. You can see a temporary shelf in place at the top. The weight of the products should cause the two side units to lean back securely against the wall. I'll need to add a back stop to each shelf to keep the products from sliding off the back edge of the shelves. Each side unit has a rubber door stop on the top back side to protect the wall.
I completely forgot about installing a cash drawer. Unfortunately, there isn't enough space in the cabinet for even a compact cash drawer, there being only 13 inches in depth to work with. So I opted for a cash box, a rather nice one, that will fit on a drawer slide as seen above. With only 13 inches to work with, the slide didn't come out far enough to allow access to half of the cash box. I added a second slide as seen in the pictures. The cash box should get here in a couple of days and I'll finish fitting it then.
I added one of these leg assemblies at each end of the cart. They are secured by a bolt and washers passing through a brass bushing at the front, and by a removable pin passing through another bushing at the back.
While the legs give the cart exceptional stability front to back, I added a 1/4", 3 1/2" long bolt at the bottom center of each leg to secure the legs to the bottom of the cart for side to side stability. The bolt has a wing nut and washer on the idside where it passes through a frame member. The stability is very good with both legs secured in the down postion.
The second picture shows a leg in the stowed position. I still need to install the bushings for the top pin hole (not visible in this picture.)
-= Siege of Augusta 2008 =-
Between the time of the last photo and the 25th of January, I did a lot of work on the cart and shelving unit. I stained and sealed the exterior, installed the glass shelves and display front, ran the wires for the DVD player, TV, wireless bridge, and laptop, and wired the other lights. I added an MP3 player, a vent for cabinet heat to escape, and a cable TV jack. After adding the vent, I also added a ¾" bulkhead between the vent and the cash drawer.
Alas, I am still trying to decide if I should try to install the Formica top myself, or if I should get a cabinet maker to do the job. Pricey either way, but I'm more concerned about how it turns out rather than how much it might cost to get it done right.
The following series of photos shows the cart in place at the Siege of Augusta 2008. Sorry about the lighting. I'll try to replace the darker photos sometime in the future.
I used "daylight" bulbs in the display case's fluorescent lamp fixtures.
The shelving unit worked better than I'd hoped. Up until I set it up in an actual working environment, I wasn't sure if it would stand on it's own. It did, and I am happy with my design.
The display case did it's job. Lots of children (and adults) looked and drooled, but were not able to handle the displayed items. It was also a plus to be able to refer customers to specific locations in the case to view items.
I didn't have time to cut the trim for around the edge of the display case. It's an odd size, and only covers the frame around the frame holding the glass front. I will add this at a later date.
It took a little experimentation to find the right heat setting for the warming table, but after the first day I settled on "Low" and the molds stayed properly warmed all weekend.
I love my work station. It was an added pleasure to be able to work on casting projects when things slowed down.
And to check my email all weekend. I have my domains set to send copies of all of my email to the laptop's address, leaving the originals on the server for download later when I get home.
The trash bag is missing in this photo (had to forget something that weekend. Forgot to bring extra bags), but you can see that I made use of the extra room at the bottom of the trash bag door.
I was also prepared for "boo-boos".
This photo shows the DVD player. If you look closely behind the player, you can see the Linksys WET11 2.0 that I installed to boost my wireless reception. It worked flawlessly.
The "daylight" lamp has been modifed to allow it to rotate on the base.
All in all, I was very pleased with how the cart and shelving unit worked out. I can't wait to take it to other shows.
These are pictures of the cart at the Siege of Augusta 2010. I added a fold-down stainless steel shelf on one end for the television, and a static shelf at the other end for my bubble vending machine. I plan on filling the bubbles with small kits that I will cast myself. The bubbles contained small toys at the Siege that year as I did not have time to develop and cast the kits.
Adding the shelves allowed me to free up space on the cart top.
The vending machine is bolted to the shelf to prevent it from falling over. There is room behind it for another cup holder and space for personal eats and snacks.
More pictures as I take them. I will add them here as I progress on the cart and the shelving unit.
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